As discussed on Marketplace Morning Report this morning, Microsoft is launching another effort to take on Google in the area of cloud computing, this time with a new push to businesses to run their traditional Office suite products in cloud form. Monthly fees apply for each product you want (Outlook, Word, Excel, etc.) as opposed to the Google plan, which charges a flat $50 per year for similar products.
The Guardian has a good breakdown of what Microsoft is offering. One big difference, as noted in the comments section, is that to work collaboratively on a document (ala Google docs), you need to be working on a desktop version of Word and save your changes before other people can see them.
Here's something I've been thinking about regarding the term "cloud". Businesses are probably happy to use that term because it implies a light breezy nowhere sort of place, a heavenly type of arrangement. By calling it a "cloud", companies disassociate themselves from control of the data in the customer's mind. But Apple's "cloud", for instance, is in North Carolina. On the ground. In a big facility run by Apple. You're putting your data in a building on the ground owned by a private company. You shouldn't forget that.